Should we bid for a World Cup again?
Can see the point for the negative. It’s a FIFA tournament.
Maybe not the same people, but the same organization which made the 2010 World Cup bidding process a Monty Python sketch without the humour. Yeah, we didn’t exactly help ourselves with shark-like consultants and a cartoon kangaroo.
But yeah, what a waste of time and money that was.
So why on earth would we put ourselves through that again? Are we mad?
But in my opinion it’s quite simple. It’s what we should have gone for in the first place, before many of us – self included – got swept up in delusions of grandeur. Retrospect is a wonderful thing.
Going after the 2023 Women’s World Cup is a much more realistic aim.
And one that HAS to benefit football, and in particular women’s football in Australia.
How then? Well, the venues won’t be much of an issue.
The 2019 version in France will be held across 9 venues, ranging from 20,000 capacity to 58,000 in June-July.
True, our weather won’t be at its most spectacular, but a June day in Sydney can top a June day in Paris, no problem.
We have the stadia. Wanderers new home in Parramatta will be an ideal venue. The Asian Cup showed having games in the right-sized venues creates a wonderful event. AAMI Park in Melbourne, Newcastle, Canberra, Brisbane. Adelaide’s Coopers Stadium and Perth’s nib Stadium would be ideal.
Behind the scenes, staging an event like this would forge further ties where football needs it most in this country – at government level. Private enterprise will only do so much for facilitating football. As AFL and to a lesser extent NRL shows, government support is vital, and football is screaming out for as many quality facilities as possible.
Why the screaming?
The explosion in registration numbers for girls in particular is a big reason. Grassroots clubs, already stretched at the seams, need all the help they can get from local councils and administrators to cater for the needs of a community that wants to spend its spare time playing football. The Asian Cup provided a legacy fund in which local clubs could access for upgrades. A similar exercise on a bigger scale with a World Cup can only be a good thing.
Plus, at the top end of the game, Australia is becoming a power.
The Matildas home awakening last September, when huge crowds got to Penrith and Newcastle for the Brazil games was as clear an illustration as ever this is no meeting moment in time. Sam Kerr is a genuine sporting superstar. One could argue only Tim Cahill has a bigger profile when it comes to Australian footballers.
How many young women - and men - does she inspire?
How many young women – and men - will be inspired if she scored in a World Cup in front of a home crowd?
Clamoring to host big events has its pitfalls, and it is right to point them out. But with this one, the positives outweigh the negatives. Taking a stand against FIFA for the 2010 debacle? Where would that get us? Righteous, perhaps, but it sure as hell wouldn’t benefit football for the reasons outlined.
So it might be blind faith, stupid in some respects given what happened last time, but here’s hoping we get to see the best women’s footballers on the planet in 2023.